During a Toastmaster year we have an average of 80 new guests visiting our club meetings and we end up by having around 8 new members out of them.
This is quite surprising isn’t it? We, the Toastmasters members have so many reasons why we are here however when it comes to attracting new people it seems it is a real challenge!
Let’s try to understand which are the most common reasons why our visitors don’t become regular members and how we can look at these reasons from different perspective:
1. Public speaking like acting on the stage without any specific reason? This is not for me!
We perfectly understand that majority of us don’t have as a goal becoming a public speaker such as a TV shows presenter, a politician or a spokesperson for an organization. In Toastmasters however we have the flexibility to adapt the speech topic and content to the professional or personal need of a speaker. We can have technical presentations to practice for an actual presentation that will then be delivered in real-life at work, a sales-speech to test its efficiency or even a self-presentation in preparation for an important interview.
2. In my job communication skills are not that important
Unless you are working as a guardian in a museum that is never visited by anyone and you have no contact with any human being your job does require communication skills! You interact with people at any time, you need to be able to sell yourself during an interview process, then you need to know how to present your achievements to your manager and you might even interact with clients that lost their patience, are angry or frustrated and you need to be capable of handling situations by speaking. Especially in customer-centric jobs communication is everything!
3. The meeting is too long
Indeed two hours and half are long but the meeting is interactive, with variety of roles and activities and once you get involved in the meeting itself by taking a role, the time simply flies. These two hours are nourishing your skills, increasing your knowledge and it’s the right way towards progress in your better communication competency.
4. It takes too much of my free time to prepare
If you didn’t find out by now, nothing is for free in this life. Greatest achievements require hard work, commitment and motivation so if you are looking for only enjoying the life by doing nothing it might be that Toastmasters is indeed not the right place for you. For all the rest who know how to prioritize the important things in life, Toastmasters helps not only improve communication skills but also leadership, time management and organizational skills. You can become an expert in managing stressful situations by keeping yourself busy, engaged and learning by doing!
5. The roles and meeting itself is unreal – this is not how it happens in real life
In life we don’t have this chance indeed of ‘testing’ the audience, of giving a presentation where people will then provide constructive feedback and you can redo the project with the suggestions incorporated. Toastmasters offers a safe environment where even the most introvert person can feel comfortable. We believe in providing support and feedback to build a person’s already existing skills. We are a group of friends rather than competitors and we all have a common goal: to grow! Then we apply all the lessons we learn in real life such as not using fillers when giving a presentation, have a short concise and precise message, have a good structure.
There are many other reasons someone can call out on why not to join Toastmasters however it’s worth thinking: are these reasons or rather excuses?
Ioana Florentina Pop, VP PR